Ned Kelly beard (Word of the Month for March 2015)

by the ANDC team

Photograph of Ned Kelly on  the day before his execution

Photograph of Ned Kelly on the day before his execution

The Oxford Word of the Month is written by members of the Australian National Dictionary Centre and published each month by Oxford University Press Australia. Each Word of the Month looks at an Australian word or term in some detail, providing a history of the term and its role in current Australian society. If you wish to receive Word of the Month by email you can subscribe at the Oxford University Press Australia website.

Our Word of the Month for March 2015 is ‘Ned Kelly beard’: a full beard. Like many men of the late 19th century, Australia’s most famous bushranger Ned Kelly sported a large bushy beard. In recent times the full beard has made a comeback in Australia, and so has the term ‘Ned Kelly beard’ which is first recorded from the 1930s. You can read the full Word of the Month in PDF form on our website or read it in an online format.

Words from our Word Box: update 9

Click on the logo to go the Word Box page

Click on the logo to go to the Word Box page

by the ANDC team

This is the final update for 2014 on contributions to our Word Box, the website feature you can use to alert us to new or unfamiliar words and phrases. These contributions allow us to identify new material for our archive of Australian words, and also for our general Australian Oxford dictionaries. We encourage you to contribute—just click on the Word Box image to the left to post your word. A few of the more interesting contributions from the last three months are discussed below; some are new to us, and some we already know. We welcome any comments about your understanding or experience of these words. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our Word Box this year.

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Australian National Dictionary Centre’s Word of the Year 2014

Each year the ANDC selects a Word of the Year. The words chosen for the shortlist are not necessarily new, or exclusively Australian, but are selected on the basis of having come to some prominence in the Australian social and cultural landscape during the year. This year one word stood out for its presence in Australian politics and the media. We have selected shirtfront as our Word of the Year 2014.

shirtfront ‘in figurative use, to challenge or confront a person’.

Prime Minster Abbott and President Putin at the G20 Summit in Brisbane

Prime Minster Abbott and President Putin at the G20 Summit in Brisbane

Shirtfront is transferred from a term used in Australian Rules football, where it refers to a type of hip-and-shoulder bump of an opponent, and is also found in Rugby, where it refers to grabbing an opponent’s jersey. Prime Minister Tony Abbott used the word in a press conference when asked whether he would raise the issue of the downing of flight MH17 with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Continue reading

Australia’s best hat

by Julia Robinson

Akubra-wearers at Wodonga, Vic. Image source: Weekly Times

In early November 2012, Kempsey (NSW) racegoers and townsfolk will attempt to break the world record for the greatest number of people wearing Akubra hats. ‘We need at least 1,000 proud Akubra owners in the CBD on Race Day to make the world record official’, say the organisers. ‘And everyone in the local community is invited to take part.’

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Dictionary Dogs

Because dictionaries are too good to waste on cats and humans.

Ozworder Harriet. Specialism: Fashion. Barking mad on: houndstooth, 'a design of broken check; a fabric of this design' 1st recorded in New York in 1936

Ozworder Hap. Specialism: Libraries & Latin. Barking mad on: carrel, 'a private kennel provided in a library for use by a reader'

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Skullet: better than the mullet?

by Julia Robinson


'A curly moment as Gary Ablett lines up with a more hirsute colleague at Gold Coast Suns training.' Image source: The Australian/Glenn Hampson

Here at we love this hairstyle on AFL player Gary Ablett. The picture was sent to us by Ozworder and long-time contributor Gilbert, not just for its intrinsic interest but because of the name of the style – the skullet.

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Smuggling budgies to budgie smugglers

by Mark Gwynn

If you’ve ever thought that editing dictionaries was dull then think again! When I first arrived at the Centre in 2002 the word of the moment was budgie smugglers – a colloquial term for a pair of men’s swimming briefs, the type that surf lifesavers wear, and yes, the kind that the leader of the opposition wears. The word was cheeky, irreverent, and very Australian – but would it last?


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